2018 Triennial Archive

Allen Ruppersberg

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106
Tues, Thurs, Sat–Sun: 10–5, Wed, Fri: 10–9



Cleveland native Allen Ruppersberg (born 1944) pays homage to his hometown in this new body of work. The illuminated photographs were taken from the vantage point of billboards across Cleveland—from the roadways along Lake Erie and the steelyards to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. These billboards no longer deliver commercial messages, but rather offer the viewer unseen perspectives of the city—that is, what the billboard “sees” from up above. The wallpaper behind the photographs shows the massive steel structures supporting each billboard, connecting the commonplace urban forms to Cleveland’s industrial past.

Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

Artist Biography

Allen Ruppersberg, born in 1944, is an American artist. He is one of the first generation of American conceptual artists that changed the way art was thought about and made. His work includes paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, installations, and books. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Ruppersberg graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts) in Los Angeles, California.

During his early years in Los Angeles, he began significant relationships with John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, William Wegman, and Allan McCollum. He participated in the 1969 exhibition, “When Attitudes Become Form,” and is recognized as a seminal practitioner of installation art, having produced works including “Al’s Cafe” (1969), Al’s Grand Hotel” (1971), and “The Novel that Writes Itself” (1978).

Since the late 1960’s, his work has been the subject of over 60 solo exhibitions and nearly 200 group shows, including Documenta V (1972), Whitney Biennial (1970, 1975, and 1991). In 1985, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles organized an exhibition of Ruppersberg’s work, which traveled to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City.  His work can be found in permanent collections in museums internationally, including Foundation de Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City.

Ruppersberg has been awarded the United States Artists Award in 2011 and the Oliver Fellow for Visual Arts.  Ruppersberg currently lives and works in Los Angeles and New York City.